Chesapeake Appalachia settles federal water pollution charges

A Chesapeake Energy Corp. subsidiary agreed to spend $6.5 million to restore 27 sites damaged by unauthorized discharges of fill material into streams and wetlands at its West Virginia natural gas production sites to settle charges that it violated the Clean Water Act, the US Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency jointly announced on Dec. 19.

They said Chesapeake Appalachia LLC also agreed under the settlement to implement a comprehensive plan to comply with federal and state water protection laws, and to pay a $3.2 million civil fine. That amount is one of the largest ever imposed for violating the CWA’s Section 404 program, which prohibits the filling or damming of wetlands, rivers, streams, and other US waters without a federal permit.

The federal government and West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) alleged the company impounded streams and discharged sand, dirt, rocks and other fill material into streams and wetlands without a federal permit in order to construct well pads, impoundments, road crossings and other facilities related to gas extraction.

A Chesapeake Energy spokesman said the settlement represents a key milestone in resolving federal and state claims relating to surface construction activities which occurred in West Virginia before November 2010. “The company is fully committed to regulatory compliance and is working with EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and WVDEP to restore the impacted sites,” he said in a Dec. 19 e-mail.

The alleged violations occurred at 27 sites, including 16 which involved hydraulic fracturing, and involved about 12,000 linear ft of stream, or about 2.2 miles, and more than three acres of wetlands, DOJ and EPA jointly said.

Specific requirements

They said Chesapeake Appalachia will be required to fully restore the wetlands and streams wherever feasible, monitor the restored sites for up to 10 years to assure the restoration’s success, and implement a comprehensive compliance program to ensure future compliance with the CWA and applicable state law.

To offset the impacts to sites that cannot be restored, the company will perform compensatory mitigation, which will likely involve purchasing credits from a wetland mitigation bank located in a local watershed, the two federal entities said.

EPA said it discovered some of the violations through information provided by the public and routine inspections. Chesapeake Appalachia also voluntarily disclosed potential violations at 19 of the sites following an internal audit. EPA issued administrative compliance orders for violations at 11 sites in 2010 and 2011. Since that time, the company has been correcting the violations and restoring those sites in full compliance with EPA’s orders, the agency said.

The settlement also resolves alleged violations of state law brought by WVDEP, the two federal entities said. The state is a co-plaintiff in the settlement and will receive half of the civil penalty, they said.

A consent decree, which was lodged Dec. 19 in US District Court for West Virginia’s Northern District, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

Related Articles

Total joins global climate initiatives

11/20/2014 Total SA, in what it describes as a consolidation of its efforts to address climate change, will support initiatives of the United Nations Global C...

IHS: ‘Tight-oil test’ under way in US amid lower oil prices

11/20/2014 The vast majority of potential US tight-oil production growth remains economical in the current crude oil price environment, according to a recent ...

Apache to sell Louisiana, Anadarko assets for $1.4 billion

11/20/2014 Houston independent Apache Corp. has agreed to sell noncore southern Louisiana and certain Anadarko basin assets in two separate deals for a combin...

AFPM: Oregon’s proposed low-carbon fuel standard unconstitutional

11/20/2014 Oregon’s proposed low-carbon fuel standards (LCFS) program is unconstitutional, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers said in comment...

MARKET WATCH: Crude oil futures prices rangebound

11/20/2014 US light, sweet crude oil prices remained below $75/bbl Nov. 19 on the New York market, while analysts and traders focused on the upcoming meeting ...

Bids spike in Northern Alaska lease sales

11/19/2014 Alaska’s Division of Oil & Gas received 356 bids on 298 tracts in its 2014 Northern Alaska area-wide lease sales, trumping the 92 bids received...

NOIA, API studies list benefits of more federal OCS leasing

11/19/2014 Offshore oil and gas leasing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and on the US Atlantic and Pacific coasts could create more than 838,000 American jobs a...

Freeport LNG nears construction phase

11/19/2014 Freeport LNG Expansion LP expects later this month to close on financing and begin construction on the first two trains of its natural gas liquefac...

Petrobras initiates start-up of units at Abreu e Lima refinery

11/19/2014 Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has received permission to commission units at its Abreu e Lima refinery (Rnest) at the port of Suape, near Reci...

White Papers

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Increase Equipment Uptime Through Robust Enterprise Asset Management

Whether you operate in the Upstream Drilling and Exploration sector, the Midstream distribution sector...
Sponsored by

Continuous Improvement for Maintenance with Robust Reporting and Analytics

You should have real-time, anywhere access to more relevant and comprehensive data to help manage and ...
Sponsored by

Enterprise Asset Management Solution for Movable Assets in the Oil & Gas Industry

Drilling and exploration companies face several challenges in effectively managing assets both offshor...
Sponsored by

Supporting HSE Needs for Oil & Gas Through Effective Asset Management Practices

The Oil & Gas industry is constantly being challenged to find, extract and deliver cheaper an...
Sponsored by

Sesam for subsea design analysis

With the exponential growth in the subsea sector, a new set of challenges now face the industry. Mostl...
Sponsored by

Is the gas delivery system you’re looking at able to meet your power generation needs: a hydraulic engineer’s perspective

The hydraulic characteristics, and system response to demands and supplies, of natural gas pipelines a...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts



Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

When Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected